On occasion I find a conservative that for reasons that range from serendipity to sniffing the winds of political reality decides or at least sounds like they’ll actually stand up for America and American values. Maybe its the little bit of old school liberal in me that seeks to find a bridge between moderate Americans and that farcical political movement called Conservatism. As Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) has demonstrated in the last two weeks it is almost always a mistake to have any such hopes that reason and values can trump the Right’s rabid loyalty to party over country, Hagel Chides Colleagues On Iraq Vote: ‘If You Wanted A Safe Job, Go Sell Shoes’
Hagel chided his fellow colleagues for being too concerned about the politics of their Iraq positioning. “If you wanted a safe job, go sell shoes,” he said. Hagel concluded that all 100 Senators have a responsibility to take a position on escalation. “We owe it to those men and women that we continue to send in that grinder.”
In Chuck’s own words take the moral course or get another job. Chuck needs to start practicing his shoe tree technique. When it came down to putting some substance behind the words Hagel choose to be a wuss, Republicans refuse to debate Iraq surge
Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Larry Craig (R-ID)
Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)
Pete Domenici (R-NM)
Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Gordon Smith (R-OR)
Ted Stevens (R-AK)
John Sununu (R-NH)
John Warner (R-VA)
There are a few people on this list that certainly know a little something about physical courage, Hagel and Warner are among them, but they all lack the moral courage and patriotic convictions that America needs to move forward.
The use of moderate to describe such leaders is necessary to mask the death of Bush’s “freedom agenda” in the Middle East, with its lofty goal of regionwide democratisation. Indeed, Rice’s visit to Egypt in January emphasised the word moderate and completely ignored the word democracy.
The moderates are not democrats, but they are politically useful because of what else they are not: they are not Persian and not Shia, not defiant and not able to act independently of the US. They are moderate only because they do not need to be more radical to achieve absolute power. Mubarak already exercises it, and the al-Sauds are satisfied with the current level of fanaticism in the kingdom. Some are armchair jihadis, but their Islamism serves only to prop up their domestic legitimacy.
The defining characteristic of moderate in regards to the middle-east has certainly been the degree to which certain nations co-operate with the west. Democracy has never really been on the table. Though Mai Yamani does miss a political reality that the authoritarian governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan would be placed under even more authoritarian theocracy if they had western style open elections. That BushCo ( and his supportive enablers like Hagel and company) has served up his disastrous middle-east policies in a fresh coat of cheap lipstick and cheesy speeches is this generations never ending tragic joke. If you smell the reality and point out how hypocritical Bush has been then you face the last gasp of the Right, that Bush might have distorted things a little, but he meant well. No he has never meant well. Bush, The Weekly Standard, Fox News and every other right-wing hypocrite have always been about obscuring the realities in the middle-east. Even when the freeper types say that there is no such thing as a good Muslim they turn around and fill up that gas guzzling eight cylinder with gas whose profits sustain the acceptable authoritarians. Liberals can’t abide Republicans that worship order above all much less Muslims, but we’re at least aware that middle-east Muslims need some liberalizing and that is not best accomplished at the point of a gun.
Because life shouldn’t be all politics all the time, The Supermodel School of Poetry
Ms. Bruni, 39, has a small, husky voice whose charm lies in its tousled, just-got-out-of-bed timbre. She recently told the Times of London that she began reading English and American poetry in order to find inspiration for her own songwriting. And then the idea came simply to record the poems she was reading. People have done this before — Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison have each recorded a poem by Yeats, and Leonard Cohen has sung poems by Lorca and Byron. In 2002, the Scottish singer James Grant released an excellent album of poetry, “I Shot the Albatross”; last summer, the American Kris Delmhorst released “Strange Conversation,” a CD based on poems by Walt Whitman, George Eliot, Robert Browning, and others; and Deb Talan of The Weepies set an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem to music in 2001.
But Ms. Bruni may be the first bona fide pop star (her last album, 2003’s “Quelqu’un M’a Dit,” sold 2 million copies) to make an entire record out of great poems while barely changing a word other than to repeat lines as substitute-refrains
I can’t say much about Ms. Bruni’s attempt since I haven’t heard her, but Joni Mitchell did a nice job with Yeats, though her original stuff is more to my taste.
“All deception in the course of life is indeed nothing else but a lie reduced to practice, and falsehood passing from words into things.” – Robert Southey